Ugly Side of Beauty Pageant with No Prize Money for Winners

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Winners of Miss Asia Malaysia Pageant 2017 not given any payment promised to them and event planners not paid after middleman went “missing”.

Liow Shin Ni, 24, who won a locally-based beauty pageant, was promised RM10,000 in prize money, but all that she received, in the end, were a rice cooker and some beauty products.

WL Jack Photography

She was promised RM10,000 for reaching that stage of the competition and was offered to go to the finals in Shenzhen, China.

A local acted as the middleman responsible for bringing Malaysian talent over to the finals, which was held on Dec 17 last year.

The middleman was also given money by the overseas sponsors to pay the Malaysian side.

However, the man disappeared when Liow went to China for the finals.

Event planner Eva Khoo Lay Hong also fell prey to the middleman and ended up organising the beauty pageant for ‘free’.

She had initially finalised the deal with the middleman after being introduced to him through mutual contacts.

“I was introduced to the unscrupulous ‘client’ while attending a business launch in August last year and it was then I was offered to be the event planner for a beauty pageant happening in December.

“To ease my work burden and to ensure the event would go smoothly, another planner was also roped in,” she said.

Khoo was responsible for setting up the Malaysian side of the competition.

“The deal was for me to handle the organi­sing, planning and training, while he handled all matters involving the money. I was only in charge of the Malaysian operations,” she added.

Khoo said that after much effort and hardship put into the event, the beauty pageant managed to proceed without issues except that both she and another planner did not receive any payment for the job done.

Both planners allegedly suffered some RM30,000 in losses.

A police report was made in January after Khoo feared that the man had absconded with the money.

“We contacted the ‘client’ on various occasions after the event for the payment but each time he would give us different excuses.

“He kept giving excuses and claimed that he could not leave the country. All that I was left with were empty promises.

“Our nightmare finally turned into reality when he removed everyone from the pageant group chat, making everyone unable to get hold of him,” Khoo said.

She said the Chinese sponsors are also suing the middleman and looking for him.

Khoo expressed concern that the incident had severely damaged her reputation as an event organi­ser.

“My reputation is tarnished because of this man. I want the public to be aware of people like him so that they won’t be fooled,” she said.

According to Khoo, the pageant winners and some of the contestants were also not paid.

As for Liow, she has still not received her prize money but was given gifts by Malaysian sponsors for winning the pageant here, which included beauty accessories and a rice cooker.

MCA Public Services and Complaints De­­part­­ment head Datuk Seri Michael Chong, who organised the press conference, urged the public to be wary of such cheats.